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Monday, September 05, 2005

Evangelicals and Alberta Separatism Part I

Alberta Evangelicals and Their Politics

Alberta is often viewed as a Bible-belt. The caricature is that Albertans work in the oilpatch all week, party at Cowboys or Billy-Bob's on Saturday night, and go to a revival service on Sunday morning to cure the hangover and guilt.

Of course the caricature is an extreme one. But Alberta is viewed as being full of 'bible-thumpers' and 'red-necks'. [Could it be that the Confederate States of America had colonized the place before the railroad came?]

Regardless of the caricatures, there are a number of Evangelical Christians in Alberta. These Evangelicals are not particularly more remarkable than Evangelicals in Ontario or Quebec. The only difference is that Alberta Evangelicals are permitted to have a role in public affairs. Evangelicals in Alberta even get elected to public office--and high office at that (think Manning and the sub-evangelical Aberhart).

Because of this allowance for Evangelicals to exercise their rights of citizenship, they have influenced the political thought of Alberta. During the heyday of the Reform party, the grass-roots support for the party had a significant Evangelical hue. This influence continues in limited form within the Conservative Party of Canada. [It seems obvious that one of aims of the CPC is to move toward 'moderate' policy positions. This is code for 'less-Christian-influenced' policy, or less social conservativism].

Now it seems that Alberta Evangelicals are considering other alternatives such as the provincial parties favoring Alberta autonomy (Alberta Alliance) or outright separation (Separation Party of Alberta).

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